This event is so much more than shrimp. The delicious ocean delicacies are the focus of the fun, but there is much more to entertain, too. Antique lovers can buy jewelry, signs, stained glass, and more. Crafters display their art and other creative goods. Non-profit organizations set up vendor booths to sell amazing food like shrimp pie, shrimp gumbo, and shrimp salad, sure to please all tastes.
Local bands perform at the Shrimp Festival to delight music lovers with song. There is a shrimp boat decorating contest and even a ceremony blessing the fleet of boats headed out for the season. Pirates invade the venue to the delight of all attendees and a parade tops off the fun. There are contests for the best pirate costume, and ice cream lovers can compete and eat their fill of the cold treat. Fireworks are part of the celebration, too.
Pack the RV and head to Fernandina Beach, Florida for a weekend of food and fun. While there, explore the area. The region has a storied history; visit museums and discover the quaint town of Fernandina Beach. Swim in the ocean, spoil yourself at a spa and of course, enjoy a fine feed of shrimp.
The concerts, events, contests, and parade are free to attend. There is no charge to enjoy the long list of entertainment. Three days of fun are yours to take pleasure in while at the Shrimp Festival. There are fees for the rides in the Kid Zone area, and the food is for purchase (all funds from food go to non-profit organizations). This is a family affair to be attended by everyone, even those on a budget. See www.shrimpfestival.com for a complete schedule of events.
I-95 will bring you close to the action at Fernandina Beach. Take delight in the scenery as you get closer to the ocean. As you approach Amelia Island, signage will point the way to the Shrimp Festival. The food booths are spread out over a few streets, so decide at which end you want to start, head there and then make your way on foot to the Amelia River area and the grandstand stage.
Rather than take your RV right into town, park and ride is a stress-free option. For a small fee, you can park your rig and take the shuttle into town. The hours of operation are convenient, and the trip is quick. Alternatively, you can park and walk. Check the Shrimp Festival website for a list of paid parking lots close enough to make the walk just a short one.
The Shrimp Festival website offers a detailed list of road closures that are usually in place for the duration of the three-day event. Because of the closures, bus routes may change. The Fernandina Beach area does offer a trolley bus. Check the Nassau Transit website for accuracy as you plan your trip.
There is no onsite camping at the Shrimp Festival, but there is a state park very close by that offers camping. There are additional options within close range and taking a drive up into Georgia is a fun alternative, too.
Camp at Fernandina Beach in Fort Clinch State Park, where you can choose a river or an ocean view. If you prefer to be a little farther away from town, there are several beautiful campgrounds to visit for those who love to explore nature. The amenities are ideal for RVers, with full hookup and large, pull-through sites available at many locations. Georgia is just a short drive away and offers additional hiking, fishing, and outdoor fun along with several RV campgrounds.
On foot is the mode of travel at the Shrimp Festival. Roller and in-line skates are not permitted and neither are bicycles. Leave the skateboards and hoverboards at home, too and instead, don your comfiest pair of walking shoes. The kids can be in a stroller, but a wagon may be tough to navigate through the crowded streets.
Dress for comfort from head to toe, and you’ll be guaranteed to enjoy the day. Shorts and a t-shirt and a large brimmed hat make suitable festival wear. Have the kids choose their favorite hat so that they will be sure to keep it on all day long. You may not need your sweater in the evening but bring it along in case a cool breeze blows in off the water.
Pack the RV with gear for a good time. This will include games for the kids in case of inclement weather and practical items like sunscreen and bug spray for hours spent outside in the sun at the festival, campground, or the ocean. Rain gear is a necessity for fun puddle jumping. Make sure the packing list includes essentials like toiletries, extra towels, flashlights, and kitchen accessories.
A warm-weather festival calls for hydration often throughout the day. Breaks in the shade are a must-do as well; the kiddos may protest when enjoying the Kid Zone at the Shrimp Festival or when playing on the beach because they don’t realize the strength of the sun. At camp, ensure that the family adheres to rules for safety like no playing near the campfire and no going to the water’s edge without an adult.
Shrimp will be on the menu while at the festival, so back at camp change things up with a feed of corn on the cob and steak. A vegetable-rice pilaf is a tasty addition, and a light cake with chocolate frosting (made ahead at home) will satisfy the sweet tooth of everyone. The next morning for breakfast offer fruit, granola, and yogurt for an easy start to the day.
A bistro garden patio is a lovely place to enjoy a tasty, light meal. You will find a couple of them in downtown Fernandina Beach. Cajun Creole is another savory meal to sample. Latin American, Mediterranean, or Asian dishes are mouthwatering favorites, too. If the kids want to keep it simple, you can go for pizza, fries, a burger, and a milkshake.
Shrimp festival is all about the shrimp and what better way to eat than to also support local non-profit organizations. These groups of people will be serving up fresh and delicious food at various booths over the venue site. Try out a few of them. It will be hard to resist the variety of tantalizing scents as you wander from booth to booth. Buy a favorite piece of artwork or a special antique. ATMs are peppered throughout the area for easy access to cash for purchases.
The Shrimp Festival is a family-oriented event run by volunteers who have running a successful event down pat. There will be a police presence as well to ensure the safety of all attendees. Alcohol is served in a designated, enclosed area. No drinking is permitted on streets or sidewalks. Pets are allowed to accompany you but must be kept on a leash at all times.
May is the perfect time of year in Northeastern Florida. The temperatures are usually not too hot or too cold; however, pack the RV for every eventuality so that the fun can be had no matter what the weather. Bring a few extra blankets for sleeping if a cool night appears. Sleeping with the screens open if you are camping near the ocean is very relaxing. The sound of the waves will lull the children to sleep.
There is a first aid station at both the Kid Zone location and the waterside venue where the shrimp food booths are usually situated. There is also a pet hospitality station, so make sure you take your dog there for a visit and a break from the sun. A mobile veterans center is on site, and there may be an opportunity to give blood if you like.